Interesting (and entertaining) piece by Mike Laurie over at Ship’s Biscuit this month. Mike gives us a pretty complete list of design/thematic/strategic categories in ‘viral’ campaigns, complete with video evidence. Very well done.

The point of the review isn’t so much to argue whether or not “viral marketing” is effective as a tactic, but simply to suggest that certain thematic patterns are emerging from this relatively new marketing tactic, and that each one has its own place in our cultural psyche:

There are exactly one hundred million billion new viral marketing campaigns seeded every 10 minutes – the vast majority are completely dire and destined to fail. So what separates success from failure? Well, the best appear to exhibit similar patterns and by using these patterns in your own campaigns you could be on your way to a free buffet and a drunken snog at next Summer’s Revolution Awards.

If you’re smart you’re probably thinking this is all very formulaic and un-creative. Well, consider the following. The drumming gorilla is just a remake of an ad for a shop called West49 in the US. The director Juan Cabral simply used a pattern where he recognised potential and executed it beautifully. The true genius of this idea is his audacity in linking it to something utterly random like a cheap chocolate brand. Juan got a black D&AD pencil for his efforts.

Mike splits up his categories thus:

  1. The Brand master/slave bond
  2. Brandophilia
  3. Doomsday Branding
  4. Brand Halo Effect
  5. Super Hot Product Demo
  6. Hot unobtainable product demo
  7. Infovert or stunning visualpresentation of a truth which everyone sort of already knew but needed someone in advertising to tell them with nice pictures
  8. WTF? How do they do that?
  9. Empowerment branding
  10. Nice big juicy hits (“Hits.” With a “h. Come on!)
  11. Out of character celebrity
  12. Animal personification
  13. Weird Science
  14. Where’s the dignity?
  15. It’s business time
  16. Super delusional weirdo
  17. Shock tactics
  18. Violate a stereotype
  19. Irritating catch-phrases
  20. Objects doing things they weren’t really made for
  21. Connect video games to real life

This is blogging at its best.  Go check out the full post here, enjoy the videos, and suggest new categories for an upcoming “part 2” follow-up post.

Have a great Thursday!

Hat tip to